The middle of September isn’t typically the time that bowl arrangements are tweaked but that doesn’t mean they can’t happen.
Conference USA confirmed details of a bowl tie-in “swap” with the Big Ten on Wednesday, causing a bit of a Texas two-step in the postseason picture for both leagues in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. The move on the Big Ten’s end was originally announced back in May but it appears the CUSA end is just now being confirmed officially.
As a result:
- A Conference USA team will now play in the Armed Forces Bowl. They’ll play against Army if the Black Knights are eligible,
- The Big Ten will place a team in Heart of Dallas Bowl against vs. a Big 12 opponent
While the exact reason for the swap is unclear, it certainly makes a little more sense for a Big Ten team to be in Dallas against a fellow Power Five conference like the Big 12. In addition, the Big Ten has not had a team filled a slot in the Heart of Dallas Bowl since 2014 and have actually never scored a victory in the game either.
There was supposed to be a B1G squad in the bowl last season but, because of shortages elsewhere in terms of eligible teams, the game wound up being an Army win over an eventual 5-8 North Texas squad. Conference USA apparently remains contractually tied to the Heart of Dallas Bowl until 2019, just not this year.
The Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 23 in Fort Worth while the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl is slated to be played on Tuesday, Dec. 26.